Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere


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Getting back to the routine #amrevising #amplotting

I’ve been back home from my glorious writing reunion retreat with my Writing Sisters, and falling back into the routine. You know, the coffee, work, procrastinate, write, chill, rinse and repeat.

Same ol’, but predictable, and comforting in the “routine-ness” of it. Although, there are parts of a retreat I would love to translate to my everyday–no TV (well, no news other than the weather and the “feel good” stories about people being nice and helping people or animals), plotting help, and time to just write.

Escaping the everyday routine is something everyone needs to do on a regular basis. Seriously. It reminds a person that routines are good for keeping the regular tasks–like working or cleaning–in the pipeline, but it sure is nice to escape routine and just do the stuff that doesn’t always fit into the everyday (even if it should).

I once spoke to a well-known writer (William Kent Kreuger) during one of those out-of-the-daily-routine events (Left Coast Crime). He had his computer at a small table in a corner and was typing away. I asked him about it. He said he writes every single morning, whether he’s at home or on the road.

That’s my dream, to set a routine that even hitting the road won’t break. I might have to wait, though, simply because real life doesn’t think I should be that scheduled. It works much better during the winter when the garden isn’t a factor; I usually dedicate time in the evenings to writing. And I’ll bet it’ll work even better after I retire (if I can retire by then).

Hmm. When I started this post, my thought was to talk about plotting, and how valuable my Writing Sisters are when it comes to helping with story ideas. They managed to expand my long short story into a novella, and got me started plotting for Book 3. *looks around for Muse* I’ll have to save that for next week, I think.

Speaking of routines and how rude real life is when it comes to incorporating (shoehorning?) my creative endeavors into the time not occupied by necessities like work and sleep (and cleaning and meals and gardening), those out-of-the-routine events don’t escape blame. All those things we writers do to get our name out there, like conventions (Bouchercon, I’m looking at you) and book fairs and other author events, do their part in tossing rocks in the gears. I’m reading books from the other authors on my panel for B’con because I’m a backup moderator. I probably won’t need to step in, but just in case, I’m prepping.

They say “schedule a time that is sacrosanct for your writing.” Yeah, and tell all the rest of the stuff that HAS to get done to come back later. This weekend means cleaning (gawd, I’ve put it off long enough), two more batches of pickles, and finishing up a panelist’s book and starting another, because B’con is a mere 4 weeks away.

So looking forward to my personal writing retreat in October! And NaNo. My legit reasons to shun all the rest of the “stuff that needs to get done” and just focus on writing.

Take time to focus on writing, but also give yourself some leeway–real life doesn’t stop, and sometimes (often) it’s too important at the time to set aside (like family, job, cleaning (there is a point when you just have to do it), sleep). Do what you can when you can, and be okay with that. You may not release two novels a year (or even one novel in two years), but that time for writing is valuable.

Now to follow my own suggestion.

Happy Writing!

Tibbers and Nyx looking like they’re pretending to be innocent (but we know better 🙂 )


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10th Anniversary — Back at the Inn #crystalriverbb #amwriting

Another wonderful reunion!

I find a spot in the glider in the morning, before the sun heats everything up. Okay, it’s before breakfast, none of my Writing Sisters are up, and it’s peaceful, listening to the river. We’ve been spending some time just enjoying being here for another year. Listening to the river in the quiet of the morning is one of the best parts.

The glider creaks as a weight settles beside me and sets the glider in motion. “Enjoying your stay, love?” My Muse rests an arm on the back of the glider behind me.

“Always.” I indicate the new addition to the options for hanging out by the river.

“I noticed you’ve been taking advantage of the hammock. You were out here yesterday when my Sisters wrote my novella for me, weren’t you? And I’m sure you didn’t encourage them at all,” I add with a huge dose of sarcasm.

He leans toward me. “It’s good for you. Besides, it’ll be a great novella.”

I can’t hold back a sigh. “Yes, it will be. And when am I supposed to work on this novella? I want to get Book 3 brainstormed and put together a timeline before NaNo this year. Besides, I’m sure that’ll be the next request from my agent. Oh, and that’s besides getting my police procedural shaped up. And you’re not helping with the whole urban fantasy project, which you know damn well I can’t focus on until I get through the procedural, my rural mystery, and Book 3.”

He shifts his arm to my shoulders and slides closer. His chuckle vibrates through him. “You’ve been receptive the past few weeks. I’m just making sure you’ve got enough creative energy to get some stuff finished.”

“Uh-huh. I don’t think creative energy is the problem at this point. It’s time. Can you slow down time so I can finish all these projects I have going?”

“I’m good, love, but that’s out of my jurisdiction.”

“Meaning, you could, but you don’t have permission?”

He hesitates for a long while. The gurgle of the river fills the quiet morning air. “I can’t slow down actual time. I can just make it feel like you have the time.”

“Oh, like when I’m on a roll and before I know it three hours have passed and I’ve written 5,000 words? When I’m so focused on writing that I don’t pay attention to anything else?”

“Exactly.”

Which is good, because that’s when I’m most productive, but it doesn’t put the rest of the stuff I need to get done on hold. I just have less time to do the other stuff.

We’ve been having a wonderful reunion retreat again this year. I always get so inspired when we gather. Time to get back to writing!

Have a wonderful writing week, everyone!


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Potpourri #amrevising #amreading

A little of this, a little of that. There’s been a lot going on lately (at least in my mind, but it’s considerate enough not to keep me awake at night 🙂 )

On the writing front, I turned in my revised revision of Book 2 to my agent this week. Crossing my fingers it’s in good enough shape that she’ll be able to take it to publishers. One thing I always seem to discover is just how much I can edit out when I remember what one of my critique partners said: If it doesn’t need to be there, get rid of it.

Which, yeah, duh, that’s kinda the point, and a vital part of the revision process, especially before sending it off to my agent. For some reason, though, when my critique partner said it (we were critiquing my submission for the month) something “clicked”. Or maybe it was that combined with my agent’s request to cut 10k words (from a 91,300 word mss). I managed to cut half of that, but as I was going through the book, I shook my head more than once and mumbled, “What the hell was I thinking? This doesn’t need to be here.”

Started the harvest season in earnest this week. Did one batch of pickles (7 quarts fit in the canner). I could have done probably 3 or 4 more quarts, but I didn’t think I’d need that many jars, so I didn’t prep enough. I made a cucumber salad I like instead (with a briny dressing, not the white creamy dressing). I should have enough for another pickling session this weekend. Crossing my fingers the upcoming hot humid weather doesn’t make the dill mature too fast. I need to do another batch of pickles before I leave for Wisconsin.

Speaking of, I can’t wait! This year is our Writing Sisters 10th Reunion! We’ve been “sisters” for a decade, now. Wow. It’s wonderful to have those ladies in my life; like a sorority, but better. We’ve been meeting via Zoom every other week since 2020, but seeing each other in person is always a treat!

Now that I’ve turned in Book 2, I need to focus on my next project, which I printed out (I often do better with hard copy I can scribble on), but I also need to figure out Book 3. Struggling with that a bit, so maybe some brainstorming during the 5-hr drive to the reunion.

I have to dedicate some time to reading, too. I’m a backup moderator for my panel at Bouchercon in Sept, so I should read a book from each of the panelists. I’ve got one down, three to go. Not sure when I’ll get through them all, but I’m just the backup, so hopefully I won’t need to sub in at the last minute. Well, that would be okay, but I’d feel unprepared if I didn’t read everyone’s books.

And I got some of the travel arranged for the wedding in VA at the end of September. Whew! There are a few more details (car rental, airport parking) to get settled, but the main things were the flight and the hotel. Part of me still dreads the travel, but part of me is relieved I got that much done 🙂

Hope everyone is staying cool, enjoying this last month or so of summer (or winter, for those south of the equator), and getting some writing done between vacationing, lawn mowing, weed pulling, and all that other stuff that has to get done.

Happy Writing!


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Summer of a-Muse-ment #amrevising #amreading

“You’re hovering.”

“I’m here, love.”

I push back from my desk in my writing office and narrowly miss my Muse’s toes. “I know, and I appreciate it, but you are hovering.” I plant a hand on his solid–oh, yes, broad and solid–chest and push him back so I don’t crack my head into his chin. “Give me some space. Sheesh. Why are you hovering?”

A crooked grin eases onto his face, giving his dimple an excuse to appear. “Because you are riding a surge of creative energy, and I want to make sure you take advantage of it.”

He rests a hip on the corner of my desk. Today he’s got a beach bum theme going: blue board shorts, flip-flops, and a tank top sporting a hand flashing the universal “hang loose” sign. He smells like the ocean, sand and sun and coconut tanning lotion. His skin is burnished bronze, and his hair is sun-bleached on the edges. I suspect he spent some time enjoying wind and waves while I visited with my family last weekend.

“Uh-huh.” I brush past him and try to ignore the rising temperature of the room. Or is it just me? Or maybe it’s the upper-eighties temps outside–naw, the air conditioning is working pretty well. Must be one of those fabled “hot flashes”.

Yeah, let’s go with that. Wait, that means I’m, ah, …

My Muse chuckles, a deep, baritone rumbling that raises the room temp even more. “You’re only as old as you think you are.”

Dang, it’s hot in here. I focus my next steps on crossing the office to grab water from the mini-fridge. The fewer times I stumble when he’s around, the less chance his ego has to take center stage. “I want to get my revisions done and sent back to my agent by the end of the month, before the reunion.”

“You’ll have them done,” he assures me, “unless you get distracted.”

I swallow a quarter of the bottle of water before I turn toward him. “I’m really trying not to get distracted, but we have my hubby’s nephew’s wedding out in Virginia at the end of September, and oh, my god, trying to figure out the best”–and cheapest–“way to get there and back is like falling into an internet rabbit hole.” I think we spent three hours last night (on top of the three hours I spent last week putting together a spreadsheet of flights and prices for Hubs (because he likes to see everything written down; I’ve known him for over 30 years, so yes, I spent the time)) trying to determine the best way to get around out there. The Metro Lines? Do we have to rent a car? Which Metro stations have parking? When should we sightsee? When are we flying out? Which airport is better? Oh. My. Gawd. This is one reason I hate traveling.

“That’s not your only distraction, love. You have creative distractions.”

“No thanks to you.” It seems I’m riding a surge of creative energy right now, but I have to put any thoughts about next projects aside until my revision is done, which is frustrating in a lot of ways. Man, I need a writing sabbatical in a little cabin in the woods.

“You’re welcome.”

“Wait, you’re warning me about creative distractions pulling me away from my revision, and you’re smug about it?”

His grin widens. “You are receptive right now, so yes.”

“Well, put a pin in it for now. I have stuff to do this weekend, like clean and make pickles.” I hate the thought of breaking away from my writing at this point, but real life has to be handled when it has to be handled, and the house won’t clean itself (damn!).

He saunters to me and rests a hand on my shoulder, the scent of coconut tanning lotion surrounding us. “I’ll still be here, love.”

“Well, don’t hover.”

“I can’t make any promises.”

Uff-da. The worst thing about having all the creative energy is not being able to sit down and take advantage of it. Hope you are all staying cool and able to take advantage of your own creative energies.

Happy Writing!